With the 2020 Census wrapping up it is once again time for Virginia to redraw its legislative district maps. Following the overwhelming passage of a constitutional amendment in the recent November elections, the drawing process will now involve citizens like you.
Want to apply to serve as a citizen member on the Redistricting Commission? Then make sure to read this entire email to learn how, and remember that the application deadline is December 28th! Not interested in serving on the Commission? That’s okay, but you should still read the information below so that you understand how this new redistricting process will work.
The New Redistricting Process
The new maps will be drawn by a 16 member Redistricting Commission that will include 8 non-political Virginia citizens and 8 state legislators. This commission will draw maps using results from the 2020 Census. If those maps are approved by the General Assembly they will be the basis for Virginia’s House, Senate, and Congressional districts for the next 10 years.
How to Apply and Get Involved
The presence of citizens on the Commission will help to ensure that we draw fair districts and end partisan gerrymandering in the Commonwealth. However, we need your help to accomplish this goal. Applications to join the Redistricting Commission are open and will remain open until December 28th. In order to apply you need to have lived in Virginia for the last 3 years, voted in 2 of the last 3 general elections, and not held a partisan political office or job directly related to partisan politics. The application website can be found here. In order to apply applicants need only fill out this form and obtain 3 reference letters to send to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header “2020 Redistricting Commission Application for (your name).”
How Commission Members will be Chosen
Once the application period has closed the Virginia Department of Legislative Services will give all of the applications to the majority and minority party leadership from both houses of the General Assembly. Each of those four leaders from the General Assembly will choose 16 applicants to be presented to the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee is composed of 5 retired Virginia Circuit Court judges. This committee will choose 2 people from each of the 4 pools of 16 applicants to select the final 8 citizen members of the Redistricting Commission. The Selection Committee is required to ensure that the Commission will be reflective of the diversity of our great state in terms of geography, race, ethnicity, and gender. If you have any questions about how the details of the application process were determined I recommend you watch this video of the Selection Committee meeting where the application requirements and wording were discussed. You can also find the text of the law outlining the membership and application requirements for the Commission here
At the end of the day, the success of this new system rests on the depth and breadth of the applicant pool. If we have a large and diverse pool of applicants we can be sure that our Commonwealth will be in good hands. With that in mind, if you are remotely interested in being on the Redistricting Commission I strongly encourage you to at least consider applying. If you know anyone you think would also be interested, encourage them to do the same. Remember, the application period ends on December 28th. If you have any questions about the Redistricting Commission or application process that this email did not answer please reach out to my office at email@example.com or give us a call at (757) 525-9526.
Michael P. Mullin